Secretary Duncan Answers Question from Teachers

Joiselle Cunningham, one of ED’s 2013-14 Teaching Ambassador Fellows at the U.S. Department of Education (a teacher on leave from her school for a year to help bring educator voice to the policy world), recently had the opportunity to sit down to talk with Secretary Duncan during the latest installment of Ask Arne, a regular video series where Duncan answers questions from social media, teachers and traditional mail.

During Secretary Duncan’s back-to-school bus tour through the Southwest, the Teaching Ambassador Fellows spoke with hundreds of teachers and compiled questions that reflect the teachers’ aspirations, angst, successes and frustrations.

In the first video, Duncan talks about funding professional development and teacher evaluations, and in the second video he addresses the opportunity gap and dual-language education. Watch the videos below:

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Click here for an alternate version of the video with an accessible player.

Teachers, keep the conversation going on Twitter by sending your questions for Secretary Duncan using the hashtag #askarne.

Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education


  1. Secretary Duncan says DOE didn’t mandate that 50% of teacher evaluations in New Mexico be based on student test performance, and Secretary Duncan seems to think it is a bad idea, but my understanding is that DOE did approve it as part of the state’s application for a waiver from No Child Left Behind.

    And, frankly, Secretary Duncan’s answer seems disingenuous to me. DOE mandates a system for teacher evaluation, the state submits a proposal that is approved by the DOE. The state then has to use that system. How is that not a mandate from DOE? True, DOE didn’t pick the percentage, but they did approve it and they do expect (mandate) that the state will use it.

    Teacher evaluations are being used punitively in New Mexico, with DOE approval. Why can’t DOE require evaluations that are true measures of performance and protect teachers from unfair and ideologically driven politicos. The answer is that DOE can, but is too busy counting beans to do so.

  2. Mr. Duncan, I don’t Twitter, but I do have a question. Where do you stand on the avalanche of private cash into the “emerging markets” of reform-driven standardized testing? Please, if possible try to answer without using the words “business”, “partners”, or any combination or derivation of those words. Thank you.

  3. Attn: Mr. Arne Duncan, Department of Education

    I will skip your ridiculous comment re: white suburban moms for now.
    Today’s Salon online magazine contains an article that, if true, should get you and your entire administration replaced. I quote: “In New York, which is ahead of much of the rest of the country in imposing the new standards, the “Common Core is arriving with incomplete plans in schools and at a rapid pace that leaves some students behind,” according to local reporters. Many of the complaints focus on the lack of “materials” needed to teach for the standards and the inability of teachers to “modify the modules for students who are struggling.”

    More recently, reporters found that books to help teachers implement the new standards were “delivered more than a month into the school year in some cases,” and that the lessons to help teachers teach to the standards “are poorly planned, too long and full of mistakes.”


    Kelly Reid

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